Rabbis Saperstein: "The apparent increase in the frequency of incidents of a destructive and too-often violent nature, perpetrated by Israeli extremists, is cause for great concern."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., September 7, 2012 - In response to Tuesday morning's vandalism at a monastery in Latrun, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
"We unequivocally condemn Tuesday's acts of vandalism against the Latrun Monastery. The desecration of the monastery with its mocking reference to Jesus is a betrayal of our Jewish values and the lessons of our history. To our Catholic brothers and sisters we express our deepest regrets.
That this was done by extremists as part of the ongoing "price-tag" approach in which settlers who feel wronged retaliate against Arab targets -- even those totally unconnected -- is a deeply troubling development. This apparent increase in the frequency of incidents of a destructive and too-often violent nature, perpetrated by Israeli extremists, is cause for great concern. They are a threat to the moral fabric of Israeli society. Further, it is our fervent hope that, despite the damage caused by these and other recent acts of extremism, the perpetrators of such violence will not succeed in further hindering the pursuit of peace.
We appreciate that Israeli political leaders and law enforcement are addressing this attack with both speed and vigor. Yet more must be done to prevent extremist ideology from taking root or being expressed, and to instead act more vigorously to inculcate values of respect and tolerance throughout Israeli culture, politics and society."
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.